ST. CHARLES COUNTY, MO (KPLR) -An assault rifle-wielding man who shot two St. Charles sheriff's deputies and stabbed a St. Louis county officer was shot and killed by police early Wednesday morning. Sixty-one year old Richard Heeter was shot as he stabbed that county officer. The deputies and the officer were all treated and released from area hospitals.
This all started around 1:00 a.m. at a home on Circle Drive. Authorities say Heeter, who is from the Wentzville area, went to the home allegedly to collect a debt from the people who lived there. Shots were reportedly fired and St. Charles County deputies responded. A Winnebego outside the home was riddled with bullets.
The owner of the home, who returned fifteen hours after the shooting, says Heeter "lost it." He describes Heeter as someone who "used to be a good guy," but has gone downhill. He says Heeter would often help with chores one day, then show up days later demanding money for the work.
Authorities say Heeter shot the first deputy in the wrist. When a second deputy arrived, Heeter allegedly shot him in the arm. An armored car was brought in to ferry the wounded officers to ambulances, as authorities Heeter, armed with an assault rifle, would take aim at first responders.
Law enforcement officers from St. Louis County, St. Charles County and SWAT Teams were called in to help in the manhunt for Heeter. Officers spotted him just after 5:30 a.m. walking in the area near the original scene on Circle Drive.
When officers instructed him to lay down, he would not comply. Heeter kept walking towards police.
"He kept approaching and he had a knife behind him and he approached the St. Louis county SWAT officer and stabbed him in the shoulder at which time the other officers opened fire to protect the officer," St. Charles Sheriff Tom Neer told reporters.
A friend of Heeter's, who lives just down the street from the incident had his own run in with police. Heeter had parked his car in Randy Jarvis' driveway. They thought Heeter, who evaded them for several hours, was inside Jarvis' home at one point.
"I’m surprised the whole neighborhood didn’t wake up," he said. "They was hollering come out with your hands up!
"When I come out they thought I was Richard. He parked his car here. I had no idea. They told me to walk out backwards with my hands on my head and when I got to the truck they put me on my knees and they handcuffed me."
He says once police realized he wasn't their man, he and his mother, who was also taken from the home, were given ten dollars and dropped off at a Steak 'n Shake restaurant.
The two wounded deputies returned to the scene after being released by the hospital and were greeted with hugs from friends. They are 28 and 35 years old respectively and have both been on the department for more than five years. The St. Louis county officer is a twelve year veteran. He is also said to be doing fine.
St. Charles' sheriff says the shootings were the first of deputies on his department in more than four decades.
Meanwhile Jarvis, the friend of Heeter's, says he's baffled by the fact his long time pal initiated the chaotic scene.
"It just doesn’t add up. It’s not Richard. Richard is an excellent hunter, gun safety, he’s an excellent guy. Good guy all the way around. But something happened obviously last night," he said.